Slow changes

Here I am once more enjoying a moment of calm in the evening before it all happens again. Many summers of working outdoors in places like this have taught me how changeable the weather always is at this time of year. The sun is shining, but I have no doubt there’ll be some rain before I’m done tonight.

They’ve mowed the meadow. There’s a guy with one of those mowers behind a tractor. His job is to be mowing things, and by God he’s going to do his job. We used to be working in a huge overgrown meadow. Now it’s just strips where the wild growth used to be. Unthinking I said to one group “You’re not here to have a pleasant stroll in this riverside meadow, you know?” and a child immediately told me “This isn’t a meadow!” I guess not, oh small precocious one. Not anymore mister mowerman. But it’s not a field either. So I’m still gonna call it a meadow…

Outside of these large sweeping distracting changes that we make with our noisy machines, the small quick changes are the things I like to observe when I’m doing this kind of work. How the lanky black winged damson flies of this afternoon are replaced by the low white lepidoptera of early evening. How the nettles bow down under the weight of the raindrops. The rise and fall of the river, the effect of the wind on the water and the willows. The plops of the fish taking a prize. The conkers suddenly thudding down. How quickly yesterday’s sodden mud has hardened. How soon it starts to crack again as all the water drops through to the water table and works into plastic bottles as per the diagram.

It’s well used, this urban meadow, despite being remote from the city centre. Dogs walk off the lead here, some already familiar, others new to me. People are here for their evening stroll. When I arrived at the bench today three pleasant young lads were getting stoned and listening to sweary music on Bluetooth. I warned them that we would be coming through armed with children and noise and they volunteered to move on immediately. I’ll have less luck with this chap. He’s a regular here, and likes to fish in peace. If a dog comes near him he mumbles imprecations to himself for a good five minutes after it has departed. I’m about to march past him repeatedly with armies of children. He might well kick off…


Time passes. He turned out to be absolutely lovely. Patient with all the noise and then as he was leaving he found a pair of lost sunglasses in time for me to return them to the owner.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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